Local Rhythms – Google Nation

I don’t understand math.

A Congressional majority is sixty votes out of a hundred, not fifty-one, and a two by four is one and three-quarters inches thick.

More baffling is the biggest company on the Internet, which gives away most of its products, yet is somehow worth tens of billions of dollars.

How does that work?

Well, Google profits from advertising – we at the (always free) Compass certainly understand that.

It also looks like the company could take over the world.

There’s hardly a game in cyberspace Google isn’t playing.  Want e-mail? Try G-mail.  Need a word processor, calendar, or a place to store and view your documents? Google has all three, and they’re free!

Ditto for digital photo albums (Picasa), video (YouTube) and net telephony (Google Voice).

They’re even taking on Facebook with Buzz, though that little launch had many longing for the good old days when Microsoft was the biggest dog in the pound.  Due to a bug (they insist it’s fixed), users who signed up for the social networking service unwittingly divulged their private data to the world.

This included GPS location information, and a tongue-in-cheek website, www.pleaserobme.com, sprang up to point would-be thieves to easy targets.

This put a stain on Google’s unofficial slogan – “don’t be evil.”

However, with all this frantic activity, including acquisitions that leapfrog the company to the front of the pack in rapidly evolving markets like streaming mobile video and cloud-based music, maybe “don’t be evil, be everywhere” is more apt.

I’d also suggest that anyone whose blogger.com site was unceremoniously shut down last year due to alleged copyright violations might dispute Google’s all-purpose benevolence.

That said, when Google decides to disrupt a sector, it’s usually good for consumers.  In music, the company is rumored to be negotiating to buy a company that would directly compete with iTunes.

Plenty have tried and failed to topple Apple – Google has the war chest to pull it off.

The Mountain View mega-corporation is also making inroads into the iPhone’s world with Android, which is a pretty nifty device.

The latest initiative, Google Fiber, could impact Claremont. The company wants to build – for free, naturally – several ultra-high speed fiber optic networks in select cities and towns.

Communities can submit proposals for consideration, and Mayor Cutts plans to raise the idea with the City Council.

Imagine a sign at the city limits – “Claremont – Powered by Google.”

It could happen.

On to the rest of the week:

Thursday, Feb 25: Dala (opening for Vance Gilbert), Flying Goose – Vance Gilbert is a talented performer, but the real reason to hit this show is the two Canadian girls who started singing Frank Sinatra songs in high school and wowed the crowd at last year’s Newport (R.I.) Folk Festival.  Sweet harmonies that remind me of what a duet featuring Joan Baez and Judy Collins might sound like – honey throated and gorgeous.

Friday, Feb. 26: Hexerei/Till We Die, Electra – The standard bearers of the local metal scene return after a brief hiatus.  It’s great to see Travis Pfenning and his band, which has had more that their share of ups and downs, back on the stage. Till We Die rounds out the Metal Mayhem bill – it will be a good night for headbangers.

Saturday, Feb. 27: Three Rix, Plainfield Blow-Me-Down Grange  – Rik Palieri, Rick Nestler and Rich Bala will give a musical history lesson, with songs from the first European settlers and pioneers, Revolutionary War ballads, sea shanties from the days of whaling ships, through lumber camps, bluestone quarries and the Depression-era hobos, right up to the current environmental movement.  Presented by Thom Wolke’s Twin Cloud Concerts.

Sunday, Feb. 28: Dartmouth Chamber Singers, Hopkins Center – An “American Life” concert focused on the leading lights of modern classical music, from the early 20th century up to the present day.  Harmony, rhythm and melody are always at the forefront in works by Irving Fine, Aaron Copland, Thomas Campion and Leonard Bernstein, along with folk-inspired pieces by 21st century composers including Stephen Paulus, Gilbert Martin and Alf Houkoum.

Tuesday, March 2: Open Mic, PK’s Tavern – Singer songwriter Jesse Peters, who’s ramping up a nationwide bicycle tour commending in May, is the biweekly host of this, one of the longest running opening rehearsals in the area.  On his off weeks, pals like Ezra Veitch and Josh Maiocco occasionally pick up the slack.  It’s always a good time, as Bellows Falls is a hotbed of local talent.  Good pints too.

Wednesday, March 3: Ted Mortimer, Quechee Inn – One of the most well-rounded guitarists in the area, who rocks out with Dr. Burma and mines the Great American Songbook with his wife Linda Boudreault, plays solo during the dinner hour, which features several soup to nuts food specials in an elegant setting.   A three-course dinner and cool jazz music are indeed a worthwhile combination

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